Headsup: The deep expose with associated comments below was first posted by Finn MacCool on 12/20/13. Knox's failed calunnia trial in 2009, failed 1st appeal in 2011, and failed final appeal in 2013 had come and gone. Some 500 zombie misrepresentations had recently reappeared in Knox's English-only 2013 book. See main support documents here and also (vitally) this and this and this.
Category: The Massei Report

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sixth Appeal Hearing: Andrea Vogt On The Testimony Of The Witness In The Square

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above and below: north side of Piazza Grimana showing the benches where Mr Curatolo normally sits]

Click here for Andrea Vogt’s report for the Seattle PI from the appeals court.

One of the case’s most colorful and controversial characters, Curatolo, 53, has spent many a day sitting in the small public Piazza Grimana square near the university where college students come to play basketball, buy hashish and hang out….

When questioned by prosecutors, he said he remembered seeing Knox and Sollecito having “an animated discussion” in the square, which overlooks the villa where Kercher’s body would be found the next day. It was not raining that night, he said, when asked about the weather. The following day the Carabinieri came around to ask him if he had seen anything, he recalled, and he had watched as forensic crime scene investigators worked around the house.

“Are you sure that the day after you saw those two discussing in an animated way you were questioned by the Carabinieri and saw the police at Via della Pergola in their white suits?” asked Mignini.

“Very sure,” Curatolo said. “As sure as I am that I am sitting here.”

But minutes later, in questioning by Sollecito’s lawyer Giulia Bongiorno, Curatolo also said he had seen young people in masks and getting on buses to go to the discos. The distinction is important because Halloween was Oct. 31 and there were likely students in costumes, getting on shuttles to go to the discos on the outskirts of town.

Kercher, however, was killed on the evening of Nov. 1, 2007, which is All Saints Day, a somber holiday in Italy, when it is less likely there were any festivities.

“I think it is clear that he does not have a lucid memory,” said a member of Knox’s legal team, Maria del Grosso, after the hearing. “And I think it was demonstrated today that he is not a credible witness.”

However, prosecutors and the lawyer for the Kercher family, Francesco Maresca, maintained the testimony was in line with previous statements.

“He repeated exactly what he said during the first trial. We still believe he is reliable.”

Good neutral report, as you’d expect, from Andrea Vogt who is the American reporter most consistently in the courtroom. All the other reports in English seemed to include a lot of fluff from the defenses.

We’ll have an analysis post on this hearing and the DNA testing in Rome later today or tomorrow.

**********

Below: Mr Curatolo’s preferred benches are at the far left there. If Sollecito did watch the gate of the house on the night he’d need to be to the far right there. The gate can easily be seen from there.



Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Open Questions: An Experienced Trial Lawyer Recommends How To Zero In On the Truth

Posted by SomeAlibi


Welcome

If you’ve come to this website because of the Lifetime movie of Meredith Kercher and Amanda Knox, then welcome. 

Like all of us who come to this case, you have one key question: did they do it?  The movie you’ve just watched is equivocal on that matter and perhaps didn’t help you at all.

On the internet, you will find people who are passionate in their defence of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito and you will find people who are passionate in their support of the prosecution. 

My own arrival

Placing my own cards on the table here: as a twenty-plus year practising trial lawyer, I am firmly a part of that latter camp.  But it wasn’t always that way.

It was information ““ evidence ““ that changed my views. What became very clear to me, early on, was that very few people in the English-speaking world are aware of anywhere near all of the evidence in this case.

I had thought I had grasped the core of the case, but I did not.  The case is deep and complex and like many criminal cases, the complete facts behind it have been only sketchily reported in the media.  The movie you may have just watched only skirts the real reasons the jury convicted.

The unanimous jury

I am sure that we all agree that no jury, in any murder case, given the awesome responsibility of adjudicating on (young) people’s lives for a multi-decade period of imprisonment, condemns people lightly.

It should be a matter of logic that the evidence presented against the accused must have been deep and satisfied the 6 lay jurors and 2 judges on the case for them to pronounce that huge judgement. That doesn’t mean that there couldn’t be the possibility of a mistrial, but clearly the evidence presented must have been substantial.

In this, we’ve already hit the first problem.  Some supporters of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito will tell you there’s no evidence against them. 

This is patently silly.  No jury ever convicts people and sends them to prison for 24 plus years without being quite convinced of the case against them.  Miscarriages of justice do happen, but the idea that there is “no evidence” can be summarily dismissed. 

The only question is whether the evidence is sufficient, true and accurate.

The voluminous evidence

So is the evidence enough to convict beyond a reasonable doubt?  The six lay jurors and two professional judges thought so, clearly.  What you realise, when you come to the facts of the case, is that the evidence is based not around a single key event but on multiple points. 

It can be astonishing to realise that the case is based not only on DNA evidence but also on cellphone evidence and computer records and further yet on multiple conflicting and contradicting versions of what happened that night from the mouths of the accused, not to mention falsely accusing an innocent man of responsibility for murder causing his incarceration. 

The wealth of evidence is actually extremely unusual. It goes way beyond the quite similar Scott Peterson case.

The Massei Sentencing Report

What is absolutely new to the English speaking legal world is that the reasoning for the conviction can be read in an extremely detailed 440+ page report online.  Bilingual posters at the Perugia Murder File Forum many of whom who are also key posters at TJMK translated the entire document into English over several months last year. 

It was my privilege to play an extremely small part in that work.  People from four different continents with backgrounds in forensic science, law, academia and a host of other disciplines participated. 

You can read an effective executive summary by clicking on the Massei Report link at top here and reading the conclusions from page 388 onwards:

The Knox PR campaign

If you are new to this case, you will likely be shocked how much evidence there is against the convicted parties.  Amanda Knox’s family have spent over $1m and involved a professional PR agency called Gogerty Marriot to suggest otherwise in the English-speaking media. 

You might wonder why an innocent person needs a million dollar PR campaign on their part.  Make yourself a coffee and read the conclusions of the judge’s report. It will take you about 15 minutes.  Up until you read this report, almost everything you watch, hear and read is PR spin and is quite deliberately positioned to make you believe there is no case.

When you complete it,  I believe you will have a very different take. That 15 minutes could change your ideas about everything you thought you knew about the murder of Meredith Kercher.

Now for a quick tour of the evidence.


Some of the points of evidence

Consider as you read it what is your own possible explanation for each of the following:

  • the fact that the wound pattern and the reconstruction of the attack, each presented at trial in extensive closed-court sessions, showed this absolutely had to be a pack attack; 

  • the DNA of Raffaele Sollecito on Meredith’s bra-clasp in her locked bedroom;

  • the almost-entire naked footprint of Raffaele on a bathmat that in *no way* fits that of the other male in this case - Rudy Guede;

  • the fact that Raffaele’s own father blew their alibi that they were together in Raffaele’s flat at the time of the killing with indisputable telephone records;

  • the DNA of Meredith Kercher on the knife in Raffaele’s flat which Raffaele himself sought to explain as having been from accidentally “pricking” Meredith’s hand in his written diary despite the fact Meredith had never been to his flat (confirmed by Amanda Knox);

  • the correlation of where Meredith’s phones were found to the location of Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guedes’s flats;

  • the computer records which show that no-one was at Raffaele’s computer during the time of the murder despite him claiming he was using that computer;

  • Amanda’s DNA mixed with Meredith Kercher’s in five different places just feet from Meredith’s body;

  • the utterly inexplicable computer records the morning after the murder starting at 5.32 am and including multiple file creations and interactions thereafter all during a time that Raffaele and Amanda insist they were asleep until 10.30am;

  • the separate witnesses who testified on oath that Amanda and Raffaele were at the square 40 metres from the girls’ cottage on the evening of the murder and the fact that Amanda was seen at a convenience store at 7.45am the next morning, again while she said she was in bed;

  • the accusation of a completely innocent man by Amanda Knox again and again when under no pressure which she insisted on putting in writing;

  • the fact of Knox’s claim that she was aggressively interrogated for days, although she did not even have the status of a witness, and signed every page of every typed record of her mild, mundane and quite limited questionings;

  • the fact that during Knox’s very unconvincing performance on the witness stand in July 2009 she admitted she was treated well and was not abused;

  • the fact that when Amanda Knox rang Meredith’s mobile telephones, ostensibly to check on the “missing” Meredith, she did so for just three seconds - registering the call but making no effort to allow the phone to be answered in the real world

  • the knife-fetish of Raffaele Sollecito, and his formal disciplinary punishment for watching animal porn at his university so far from the wholesome image portrayed;

  • the fact that claimed multi-year kick-boxer Raffaele apparently couldn’t break down a flimsy door to Meredith’s room when he and Amanda were at the flat the morning after the murder but the first people in the flat with the police who weren’t martial artists could;

  • the extensive hard drug use of Sollecito as told on by Amanda Knox;

  • the fact that Amanda knew details of the body and the wounds despite not being in line of sight of the body when it was discovered;

  • the lies of Knox on the witness stand in July 2009 about how their drug intake that night (“one joint”) is totally contradicted by Sollecito’s own contemporaneous diary;

  • the fact that after a late evening’s questioning, Knox wrote a 2,900 word email home which painstakingly details what she said happened that evening and the morning after that looks *highly* like someone committing to memory, at 3.30 in the morning, an extensive alibi;

  • the fact that both Amanda and Raffaele both said they would give up smoking dope for life in their prison diaries despite having apparently nothing to regret;

  • the fact that when Rudy Guede was arrested, Raffaele Sollecito didn’t celebrate the “true” perpetrator being arrested (which surely would have seen him released) but worried in his diary that a man whom he said he didn’t know would “make up strange things” about him despite him just being one person in a city of over 160,000 people;

  • the fact that both an occupant of the cottage and the police instantly recognised the cottage had not been burgled but had been the subject of a staged break-in where glass was *on top* of apparently disturbed clothes;

  • the fact that Knox and Sollecito have feuded quite publicly ever since November 2007 and have shown far more anger toward one another than either has ever shown toward Guede;

  • the fact that Knox and Sollecito both suggested each other might have committed the crime and Sollecito TO THIS DATE does not agree Knox stayed in his flat all the night in question;

  • the fact of the bizarre behaviour of both of them for days after the crime;

  • the fact that cellphone records show Knox did not stay in Sollecito’s flat but had left the flat at a time which is completely coincidental with Guede’s corroborated presence near the girl’s flat earlier in the evening;

  • the fact that Amanda Knox’s table lamp was found in the locked room of Meredith Kercher in a position that suggested it had been used to examine for fine details of the murder scene in a clean up;

  • the unbelievable series of changing stories made up by the defendants after their versions became challenged;

  • Knox’s inexplicable reaction to being shown the knife drawer at the girl’s cottage where she ended up physically shaking and hitting her head despite being joyful earlier at the police station.


In conclusion

This list is not exhaustive. It goes”¦ on”¦ and on”¦ and on”¦ And yet, those supporting Knox will tell you that’s all made up, all coincidental. 

Really?  Does the weight of all that evidence sound made up to you?

If so, it must be the most over-rigged criminal case in the history of crime.  Unlikely beyond all and any reasonable doubt.

The judge’s report explains why the jury found the defendants guilty. I truly expect you will be astonished at the amount of evidence if all you’ve done is watched a film or read a few press reports. 

For any questions thereafter, please join us and post them on truejustice.org or perugiamuderfile.org .  You’ll find here a host of good people who are all working on a totally volunteer basis in memory of the only victim of this crime.

Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher. RIP.


Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Explaining The Massei Report: A Visual Guide To The Faked Break-In Via Filomena’s Window

Posted by pat az




1. Post Overview

Cross-posted from my own website on Meredith’s case at the kind invitation of TJMK.

The Massei Report on the trial and sentencing of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito looks into whether or not a break-in is supported by the evidence available in the room with the broken window.

It concludes that the broken window and room in disarray - Filomena’s bedroom - are an “artificial representation”, ie. that the break-in was faked. After seven pages of review of the evidence, the Massei Report states:

“the situation of disorder in Romanelli’s room and the breaking of the window pane constitute an artificial representation created in order to orient the investigations towards a person who, not having the key to the front door, was supposed to have entered through the previously broken window and then effected the violent acts on Meredith which caused her death.

What follows is a look at the comments in the Massei report compared with crime scene and other photos. All quotes are from the English translation prepared by unpaid volunteers at PerugiaMurderFile.org. The section on the scenes in the bedroom begins on page 47 and continues to page 55. Some sentences in the paragraphs below have been omitted for brevity, and can be read in full in the original.

2. Knox Finds The Scene

Then (Amanda) went into another room and noticed that the window had been broken and that there was glass inside. She told these things to her and the other girls present. Then she related that she had gone back to Raffaele’s house and had rung Filomena.

I)n one of the telephone calls to Romanelli, Amanda spoke of that smashed window and of the possibility that someone could have entered the house through the broken place; she said this also in the telephone call to 112 and in the first declarations to the Postal Police.

Also in the e-mail of November 4, 2007, sent by Amanda to 25 people in the US, she hypothesises that a burglar could have entered the house and says she looked around to see if anything was missing.


Filomena Romanelli, disturbed by this phone call, had rung Amanda back without receiving a reply and when, a little later, she had succeeded in speaking to Amanda, Amanda had told her that in her room (i.e., in Ms. Romanelli’s room) the windowpane was broken, everything was in a mess, and that she should come back home.

Filomena Romanelli had ascertained from a quick check of her room, even though (it was) in a complete mess with the windowpane broken, that nothing was missing.

It must be held that when Filomena Romanelli left the house in via della Pergola, she had pulled the [interior] shutters towards the interior of her room, although she did not think that she had actually closed them; furthermore, because they were old and the wood had swelled a bit, they rubbed on the windowsill; to pull them towards the room it was necessary to use some force (“they rubbed on the windowsill”); but in this way, once they had been pulled in, as Romanelli remembered doing, they remained well closed by the pressure of the swelled wood against the windowsill.

It cannot be assumed - as the Defence Consultant did - that the [interior] shutters were left completely open, since this contradicts the declarations of Romanelli, which appear to be detailed and entirely likely, considering that she was actually leaving for the holiday and had some things of value in her room; already she did not feel quite safe because window-frames were in wood without any grille.

Also, the circumstance of the [interior] shutters being wide open does not correspond to their position when they were found and described by witnesses on November 2, and photographed (cf. photo 11 already mentioned).


Now, for a rock to have been able to break the glass of the window without shattering the outside shutters, it would have been necessary to remove the obstacle of the shutters by opening them up.

Consequently, since the shutters had been pulled together and their rubbing put pressure on the windowsill on which they rested, it would have first been necessary to effect an operation with the specific goal of completely opening these shutters.

The failure to find any instrument suitable for making such an opening (one cannot even see what type of instrument could be used to this end) leads one to assume that the wall would have to have been scaled a first time in order to effect the complete opening of the shutters, in order to enable the burglar to aim at the window and smash it by throwing a large stone - the one found in Romanelli’s room.

He would then have to have returned underneath Romanelli’s window for the second climb, and through the broken glass, open the window (balanced on his knees or feet on the outside part of the windowsill), otherwise he would not have been able to pass his arm through the hole in the glass made by the stone) and reach up to the latch that fastened the window casements, necessarily latched since otherwise, if the casements had not been latched, it would not have been necessary to throw a rock at all, but just to open the shutters and climb inside.


The “climber” would also need to rely on the fact that the [interior] shutters were not actually latched, and also that the “scuri” ]blackout blind] had not been fastened to the window-frame to which the broken pane was attached; otherwise it would not have been possible to open them from the outside; nor would it have been possible, even breaking the glass, to make a hole giving access to the house, since if these inner panels had been closed, they would have continued to provide an adequate obstacle to the possibility of opening the window, in spite of the broken pane.


This scenario appears totally unlikely, given the effort involved (going twice underneath the window, going up to throw the stone, scaling the wall twice) and taking into account the uncertainty of success (having to count on the two favourable circumstances indicated above), with a repetition of movements and behaviours, all of which could easily be seen by anyone who happened to be passing by on the street or actually coming into the house.


But beyond these considerations, there are other elements which tend to exclude the possibility that a burglar could have entered the house through the window of Romanelli’s room.The double climb necessary to attain the height of three and a half metres would have left some kind of trace or imprint on the wall, especially on the points on the wall that the “climber” would have used to support his feet, all the more as both the witnesses Romanelli and Marco Zaroli gave statements indicating that the earth, on that early November evening, must have been very wet (..6) (p50)


In fact, there are no visible signs on the wall, and furthermore, it can be observed that the nail ““ this was noted by this Court of Assizes during the inspection ““ remained where it was: it seems very unlikely that the climber, given the position of that nail and its characteristics, visible in the photo 11, did not somehow “encounter” that nail and force it, inadvertently or by using it as a foothold, causing it to fall or at least bend it. (p50)


The next fact to consider is that the pieces of glass from the broken pane were distributed in a homogeneous manner on the inside and outside parts of the windowsill, without any displacement being noted or any piece of glass being found on the ground underneath the window.

This circumstance, as confirmed also by the consultant Pasquali, tends to exclude the possibility that the rock was thrown from outside the house to create access to the house through the window after the breaking of the pane. The climber, in leaning his hands and then his feet or knees on the windowsill, would have caused at least some piece of glass to fall, or at least would have been obliged to shift some pieces of glass in order to avoid being wounded by them.

Instead, no piece of glass was found under the window, and no sign of any wound was seen on the pieces of glass found in Romanelli’s room. It can moreover be observed that the presence of many pieces of glass on the outside part of the windowsill increases the probability of finding some small pieces of glass on the ground underneath, since there seems to be no reason that so many pieces of glass would all stop just at the edge of the windowsill without any of them flying beyond the edge and falling down to the garden below. (p51 & 52)


On this subject it is also useful to recall that at the hearing of April 23, 2009, the witness Gioia Brocci mentioned above declared that she had observed the exterior of the house, paying particular attention to the wall underneath the window with the broken pane, the window of the room then occupied by Filomena Romanelli.


She said: “We observed both the wall”¦underneath the window and all of the vegetation underneath the window, and we noted that there were no traces on the wall, no traces of earth, of grass, nothing, no streaks, nothing at all, and none [39] of the vegetation underneath the window appeared to have been trampled; nothing” (p. 142 declarations of Gioia Brocci). (51)

This situation, like all the other glaring inconsistencies, is adequately and satisfactorily explained if one supposes that the rock was thrown from the inside of the room, with the two shutters pulled inwards so that they blocked the pieces of glass from falling to the ground below. Once the glass had been broken from inside, the rock was set down at some place in the room, and the shutters were pushed towards the outside, being thus opened from within the room. (p51)


But the fact that all this was in fact just a simulation, a staging, can be deduced from further circumstances. From the photos taken by the personnel of the Questura (photos 47 to 54 and 65 to 66) one can perceive an activity which appears to have been performed with the goal of creating a situation of obvious disorder in Romanelli’s room, but does not appear to be the result of actual ransacking, true searching for the kind of valuable objects that might tempt a burglar.


The drawers of the little dresser next to the bed were not even opened (photo 51 and declarations of Battistelli who noted that Romanelli was the one who opened the drawers, having found them closed and with no sign of having been rifled: see p. 66 of Battistelli’s declarations, hearing of Feb. 6, 2009).


The objects on the shelves in photo 52 appear not to have been touched at all; piles of clothes seem to have been thrown down from the closet (photo 54) but it does not seem that there was any serious search in the closet, in which some clothes and some boxes remained in place without showing any signs of an actual search for valuable items that might have been there (photo 54).


It does not appear that the boxes on the table were opened (photo 65) in a search for valuable items. And indeed, no valuable item (cf. declarations of Romanelli) was taken, or even set aside to be taken, by the ““ at this point we can say phantom ““ burglar.

What has been explained up to now thus leads to the assertion that the situation of disorder in Romanelli’s room and the breaking of the window pane constitute an artificial representation created in order to orient the investigations towards a person who, not having the key to the front door, was supposed to have entered through the previously broken window and then effected the violent acts on Meredith which caused her death.

Footnotes

(...1) The Massei Report in English is readable and downloadable via the link at the top of this page. 

(..2) The consultant for the defence actually assumed that this had been done; in his exhibit, he assumed that the shutters were not present in front of the window

(..3): “if the shutters were closed, he could not have passed through, that is obvious”, cf. declarations of the consultant for the defence, Sergeant Francesco Pasquali, p. 22 hearing July 3, 2009.

(..4): (the window in Romanelli’s room is located at a height of more than three and a half metres from the ground underneath, cf. photo 11 from the relevant dossier)

(..5):,which are the wooden panels [scuri=non-louvered shutters in interior of room] that usually constitute the outer side (or the inner, depending on the point of view) of the window [attached to the outer edge of the inner side of the window-frame]

 


Friday, December 03, 2010

Explaining The Massei Report: Establishing The Time When Meredith Passed On

Posted by Storm Roberts




Why This Matters So Much

Perhaps the hardest parts of the Massei Report for compassionate readers to take are those concerning Meredith’s wounds and time of death.

Those passages commence early in the report and, as with our translation of much of the Micheli report, left our translators and many readers disturbed and a few of them at least in tears. 

This is an abbreviated overview of how forensic medicine helped the court to establish the time of Meredith’s death.

Please click here for more

Monday, November 29, 2010

Explaining The Massei Report: The Timeline For Events Before, During, And After The Night #1

Posted by catnip




The Masssei Timeline To Midnight 1 Nov

These two posts list all of the events precisely timed in the Massei Report. Page numbers shown in brackets are those in the original Italian version.

This timeline will be reposted over on the TJMK Massei Report summaries and highlights page as we populate that page further starting this week.

There are plenty of mentions of imprecise occasions and general time periods, such as when Rudy told Giorgio Cocciaretto about liking Amanda (p26) or when lawyer Palazzoli found out their stolen computer had been recovered in Milan (p33), but they are not listed here.

nts_before_during_2/”>Post #2

Please click here for more

Explaining The Massei Report: The Timeline For Events Before, During, And After The Night #2

Posted by catnip




The Masssei Timeline After Midnight 1 Nov

We continue here from Post #1 These two posts list all of the events precisely timed in the Massei Report. Page numbers shown in brackets are those in the original Italian version.

There are plenty of mentions of imprecise occasions and general time periods, such as when Rudy told Giorgio Cocciaretto about liking Amanda (p26) or when lawyer Palazzoli found out their stolen computer had been recovered in Milan (p33), but they are not listed here.

Please click here for more

Monday, November 22, 2010

Explaining The Massei Report: Motive In The Meredith Kercher Case And Its Addressing In The Report DRAFT

Posted by James Raper

superceded by revised post 12 april 2011


I have read the Massei Report which in the main I thought was excellent. He was incisive with his logic, particularly, though not exclusively, with regard to the staging of the break in and how that necessarily meant that Amanda was present at the scene when the murder was committed.

However, I thought that he was rather feeble in his coverage of the defendants’ motives as to the attack which led to this brutal murder. Perhaps he thought it better to stick with the indisputable evidence.

Since this pointed to a sex attack, he surmised that Guede had a go at Meredith first, and then - because the stimulation was too much for them - he was joined by Amanda and Raffaele. This works but does seem a bit weak. There were, to my mind, undoubtedly other factors at work, and it is these which I wish to address.

For instance, Massei asks, though he says we can not know, had Amanda egged Guede on as to the “availability” (my word, not his) of Meredith during or prior to their presence at the cottage?

Frankly the answer to that has to be “yes” since it is a bit difficult to figure out why Amanda and Raffaele would otherwise wish Guede to join them at the cottage. I doubt that Amanda and Raffaele would have wanted Guede around if they were just going there to have an innocent cuddle and sex and to smoke cannabis, as Massei implies.

The evidence is that Raffaele hardly knew Guede and in the presence of Amanda was very possessive about her. If he had known of Guede’s interest in Amanda he would have been even less keen to have Guede around.

Also, if all was so innocent beforehand, then why would Guede have tried it on with Meredith and then pressed the situation in the face of her refusal to co-operate, knowing that there were two others there who could have come to her assistance?

The answer is of course that Guede knew full well in advance that there would be no problem with Amanda and Raffaele. He had been invited there and primed to act precisely in the way he did, at least initially. Why? Well there is plenty of evidence as to why Amanda, in her mind, may have been looking for payback time on Meredith. Come to that later.

What does not get much attention in the Massei Report, other than a terse Not Guilty at the end, is the matter of Meredith’s missing rent money and credit cards and whether Amanda and Raffaele stole them.

It is as if the Judge (well, the jury really) felt that this was a trivial issue that brought nothing much to the case and thus it was not necessary to give it much attention. And indeed there is no summation of or evaluation of that evidence.

Now that does surprise me. Of course there may have been some technical flaw with the charge and the evidence. But in the absence of any comment on this then we do not know what that may be. What I do know is that the matter, if proven, is not trivial.

A theft significantly ups the stakes for Amanda and Raffaelle just prior to the murder and produces a dynamic, which, threaded together with a sexual assault, makes for a far more compelling scenario to murder.

It also leads one to conclude that there was a greater degree of premeditation involved : not premeditation to murder but as to an assault, rather than the more spontaneous ” let’s get involved” at the time of the sex attack as postulated by Massei. An Italian lawyer could tell us whether this would have added extra time on to their sentence. It is worthy of consideration.

What is the evidence? What evidence was before the court? I do not have access to trial records, only what I have read about the case in the book “Darkness Descending” and on the True Justice for Meredith website. Therefore I stand to be corrected if I misrepresent the evidence or if my interpretation of it does not met the test of logic.

There were two lay witnesses who were compelling in the trial. The first was Filomena Romanelli, the flatmate and trainee lawyer. If there was anyone who was going to ensure that the rent was paid on time, it would have been her.

She gave evidence that the rent being due very soon she asked Meredith about her contribution of 300 euros and was told by Meredith that all was OK because she had just withdrawn 200 euros from her bank. Filomena assumed from Meredith’s reply that the balance was already to hand.

Is there a problem with this evidence? Is it hearsay and thus inadmissible under Italian law?

Perhaps it is not enough by itself because of course had Meredith not in fact withdrawn the money from her bank, or sufficient funds to cover the stated amount, then that would be a fatal blow to that part of the theft charge. Her bank manager was summoned to give evidence, essentially to corroborate or disprove Filomena’s testimony.

I do not know what exactly that evidence was. One would assume that at the very least it did not disprove her testimony. Had it done so that would, as I have said, been fatal. It is also unbelievable that Massei would have overlooked this in the Report. I am assuming that Meredith did not tell a white lie and that the bank records corroberate this.

There may of course be an issue of timing as I understand that the bank manager told the court that transactions at a cash machine are not necessarily entered on the customer account the same day . However that does not seem to me to be significant.

One must also think that the bank manager was asked what other cash withdrawals had been made if the credit cards were taken at the same time as the money. I understand that there is of course a caveat here: my assumptions in the absence of knowing exactly what the bank manager’s evidence was.

It would be useful also to know how and when the rent was normally paid. It sounds as if it was cash on the day the landlord came to collect.

We do know that the police did not find any money or Meredith”˜s credit cards. Had Meredith, a sensible girl, blown next month’s rent on a Halloween binge? Unlikely. So somebody stole it. Again, just as with the fake break in, when according to Amanda and Raffaele nothing was stolen, who and only who had access to the cottage to steal the money? Yes, you have guessed it. Amanda, of course.

Does the matter of missing rent money figure anywhere else? There is the evidence of Meredith’s phone records which show that she rang her bank late on the evening of her murder just prior to the arrival of Amanda, Raffaele and Guede.

Why did she do this? What do you think? What is the first thing you do when you discover that your credit cards are missing? Obviously have a good look round. Then you ring your bank to put a stop on them. It may have been that she was not actually able to do that at that time of night. But worthy of further investigation.


The missing money also figured in the separate trial of Guede. He made a statement which formed the whole basis of his defence. Basically this was that he had an appointment with Meredith at the cottage, had consensual foreplay with her and was on the toilet when he heard the doorbell ring etc, etc.

What he also added was that just before all this Meredith was upset because her rent money had disappeared and that they had both searched for it with particular attention to Amanda’s room. Now why does Guede mention this? Remember this is his defence. Alibi is not quite the right word. He had plenty of time to think about it or something better.

His defence was moulded around (apart from lies) (1) facts he knew the police would have ie no point denying that he was there or that he had sexual contact with Meredith : his biological traces had been left behind, and (2) facts known to him and not to the police at that stage ie the money, which he could use to make his statement as a whole more credible, whilst at the same time giving the police a lead. He is shifting the focus, if the police were to follow it up, on to the person he must have been blaming for his predicament, Amanda.

If all three, Amanda, Raffaele and Guede, went to the cottage together, as Massei has it, then Guede learns about the missing rent money not as referred to in his statement but because Meredith has already discovered the theft and worked out who has had it and challenges Amanda over it when the three arrive.

Perhaps this is when Guede goes to the toilet and listens to music on his Ipod. After all he is just there for the sex and this is all a distraction.

I expect, however, that Guede’s “evidence” was not a factor in the jury’s consideration. Neither Guede’s lawyers nor those for Amanda and Raffaele wanted Guede to testify at the trial, for obvious reasons Without Guede testifying his statement would have been objectionable if not inadmissable.

I would have thought, though, that the prosecution could have brought him in as a witness, with the agreement of the judge, to testify as to the missing rent money only. Guede and his lawyers might well have agreed to this on the basis that such limited questioning would not have incriminated him further and might well have had a beneficial effect in his appeal. Convicted criminals often give evidence in court. What weight is attached to the evidence of a convicted criminal is a matter for the jury.

As the prosecution have appealed Amanda’s and Raffaele’s sentences, asking for lengthier terms, could they produce Guede now? I don’t know.

When were the money and credit cards stolen? According to Amanda and Raffaele they spent Halloween together at Raffaele’s and the next day went to the cottage. Meredith was there. Meredith left at about 1pm to spend the evening with her friends and Amanda and Raffaele left at about 3pm.

This is according to Amanda and Raffaele of course but probably likely because if the money had already been stolen Meredith may likely have known with different consequences for everyone. So Amanda and Raffaele could have stolen the money and credit cards after she left - the day of her murder.

Incidentally Filomena testified that Meredith never locked the door to her room except on the occasions she went home to England. Meredith was a very trusting girl.

What motive had Amanda for wanting the money apart from the obvious one of profit? There are numerous plausible motives.

To fund a growing drugs habit which she shared with Raffaele? Not an inconsiderable expense for a student. Both Amanda and Raffaele explained their confusion and hesitancy as being due to the fact that they had been going rather hard on drugs.

To embarrass Meredith vis a vis her landlord and the other flatmates? Because Amanda’s own financial circumstances were deteriorating and to fund her own rent contribution? She was probably about to be sacked at Lumumba’s bar and to add insult to injury would likely be replaced by Meredith. In fact Meredith was well liked by all whereas Amanda’s star was definitely on the wane.

That must have irked Amanda. Filomena testified that Meredith and Amanda had begun to have issues with each other towards the end.

With Meredith’s money both Amanda and Raffaele could have afforded something a little stronger than the usual smoke and I speculate that they spent the late afternoon getting stoned. Did they use the credit cards? If they did then it was probably small cash withdrawals but the likelihood is that they did not as in the limited time prior to Meredith’s death they had the use of her ready cash, and after her death the safer thing was to destroy them.

Of course Amanda was still an employee of Lumumba and she would have to turn up that evening for work, but perhaps she no longer cared all that much about the consequences.


Again I speculate that she and Raffaele met Guede before she was due at work, discussed Meredith’s “availability” and Amanda, Raffaele and Guede agreed to meet up on the basketball court at Grimana Square between 11 and 11.30pm, by which time Amanda would expect to have got away from the Le Chic bar.

What else did Amanda and Raffaele have in mind when arranging the meeting or when thinking about it afterwards? Guede was of course thinking about sex and that Amanda and Raffaele were going to facilitate an encounter with Meredith later that evening.

However Amanda and Raffaele had something else on their minds. The logic of their position vis a vis Meredith cannot have escaped them. They had taken her money and credit cards whilst she was out. Had she not already discovered this fact then she would in any event be back, notice the money and credit cards were missing and would put 2 and 2 together.

Very probably Meredith had not already discovered the theft because, spending a quiet time with friends, she had no cause to use her credit cards. What would happen? Who would she tell? Would she call the police? How are they going to deal with this? Obviously deny it but logic has its way and the situation with or without the police being called in would be uncomfortable.

They decided to turn the tables and make staying in Perugia very uncomfortable for Meredith. Now the embarrassing, for Meredith, sexual advances from Guede were going to be manipulated by them in to a sexual humiliation for Meredith.

Meredith was not going to be seriously harmed but as and when they were challenged by Meredith over the missing money, as inevitably they would be, she was to be threatened with injury or worse. Knives come in useful here.

She would likely then give up her tenancy at the cottage, perhaps leave Italy. Whether that looks like the probable and likely outcome I leave you to judge, but just how much of this would be precise and careful planning given, as seems likely, that Amanda and Raffaele were going hard on the drugs?

They were not in a position to act any earlier than they did. They knew that Meredith was away with her friends and probably would not come home until much later. Amanda was expected at Lumumba’s.  Guede was not available until the pre-arranged time.

In the event Amanda did not have to go to work. She and Raffaele were at a loose end until the time of their pre-arranged meeting with Guede. They got to the basketball court early. They had to wait for him. They could not ring him as he did not have a phone.

We know Amanda and Raffaele were on the basketball court (some of the time if not all of the time) between 9.30 and sometime just before 11.30pm. This is because of the evidence of a Mr Curatolo, the second compelling lay witness. He testified to seeing Amanda and Raffaele having heated arguments, and occasionally going to the parapet at the edge of the court to peer over.

What were they looking at? Go to the photographs of Perugia on the True Justice for Meredith website and you will see. From the parapet you get a good view of the gates that are the entrance, and the only entrance as I understand it, to the cottage.

So why the behaviour observed by Mr Curatolo? They may have been impatient waiting for Guede to arrive. Were they actually to go through with this? One might speculate that Raffaele was not actually as keen on it as Amanda.

Was Meredith at home, alone, and had she found the money was missing and had she called the police or tipped off someone already? Who was hanging around outside the entrance to the cottage and why?

There was, apparently, a car parked at the entrance, a broken down car nearby with the occupants inside awaiting a rescue truck, and the rescue truck itself, all present at different times. Amanda and Raffaele did not wish to be observed going through the gates with these potential witnesses around.

We, of course, cannot know for certain what went on in the minds of Amanda and Raffaele and account for much of their movements between the time of them leaving the cottage at, they say, 3pm and their departure from the basketball court at around 11.30pm. It has to be speculation but there is a logical consistency to the above narrative if they had stolen Meredith’s money and credit cards earlier that day, and their meeting up with Guede just before 11.30pm does not look like a co-incidence.

From there on in to the inevitable clash between Amanda and Meredith over the money and credit cards, the threats and intimidation by Amanda and Raffaele to scare her, the sexual assault as part of that, and the tragic death of Meredith.

In a civil case in this country, the standard of proof is “the balance of probabilities” rather than the higher standard of (to paraphrase) “beyond reasonable doubt” in a criminal case.

If my earlier caveat about the bank manager’s evidence not disproving that Meredith had withdrawn her money is unnecessary then, at the very least, on the balance of probabilities, it is proven that Meredith had that money, and the credit cards, and that Amanda and Raffaele had stolen them from her. Some might think (I do) that it is proven on the higher standard too.

It is a shame that the Massei court did not consider and evaluate all of the evidence before it.

It did not need to fear that by doing so it may have been including something which others might consider eminently appealable,  since the evidence and reasoning on which it did convict Aamanda and Raffaele of murder was sound and impeccable.

Addendum : There have been a great many useful comments on this post. As a consequence I accept that the scenario outlined above requires at least two modifications and these are in my last comment below.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Explaining The Massei Report:  All Judges, Lawyers And Witnesses At Trial Jan-Dec 2009

Posted by Storm Roberts



[Above: Dr Giancarlo Massei, the president of the Court]

Our intention with this new series of posts is to show how thorough the trial was, and how compelling the Massei Report on the grounds for the Knox-Sollecito sentence is. 

At the beginning of the trial, the witness counts were considerable: approximately 90 for the prosecution, 60 for the civil plaintiffs, 90 for the defence of Raffaele Sollecito, and 65 for the defence of Amanda Knox.

However, a large number of witnesses for both Amanda Knox and for Raffaele Sollecito were removed from the witness listing. Thus the actual number of people testifying was lower than originally expected. 

Here is a comprehensive list I have compiled, made by going through the Massei Report, picking out the witnesses, and noting what they testified about. If I had the information available, I have noted where a witness was specifically called by the defence of either of the then defendants.

Officers Of The Court

  • Judges:  Dr Beatrice Cristiani and Dr Giancarlo Massei, the president of the Court.
  • Prosecutors: Public Ministers Dr Manuela Comodi and Dr Giuliano Mignini.
  • Interpreter for Amanda Knox:  Dr Anna Baldelli Fronticelli.



[above: the two prosecutors]

The Legal Teams:

  • For the family of Meredith Kercher:  Francesco Maresca and Serena Perna.
  • For Diya “Patrick” Lumumba: Carlo Pacelli.
  • For Aldalia Tattanelli (the owner of the house): Letizia Magnini.
  • For Amanda Knox:  Luciano Ghirga and Carlo Dalla Vedova.
  • For Raffaele Sollecito: Giulia Bongiorno, Daniela Rocchi and Luca Maori.



[above: Amanda Knox’s legal team]

Witnesses


The following is a list of witnesses and a brief note as to the evidence they presented. I am not detailing their arguments here, merely indicating the areas the witnesses were heard in.  For full details of the evidence and the court’s arguments please read the Massei Report in full and the summaries coming up.

  • Amanda Knoxtestified while not under oath at the request of her defence and the legal team representing Diya Lumumba.  Her testimony was heard on 12th and 13th June 2009. Raffele Sollecito made a couple of interventions from his seat beside his three lawyers, but he did not get up on the stand.
  • Mrs. Elisabetta Lana and her son, Alessandro Biscarini.  They discovered two mobile phones, both belonging to Meredith Kercher (one was registered to Filomena Romanelli, Meredith’s flatmate), in their garden at Via Sperandio.
  • Dr. Filippo Bartolozzi - at the time Manager of the Department of Communications Police for Umbria - Dr. Bartolozzi received the mobile phones from Mrs Lana, the first at approximately 11.45 to 12.00hrs on 2nd November 2007, the second at approximately 12.15 to 12.20 hrs.  He traced the first phone to Filomena Romanelli and, at noon, despatched two officers to her address to investigate why her phone was in Mrs. Lana’s garden.
  • Inspector Michele Battistelli and Assistant Fabio Marzi - the two officers despatched by Dr. Bartolozzi.  They arrived at 7 Via della Pergola at a little after 12.30 hrs - they found Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito sitting outside the house.  They gave evidence about the circumstances leading up to the discovery of Meredith’s body and with regards to securing the scene whilst awaiting the Carabinieri and Scientific Police.
  • Filomena Romanelli who was Meredith’s flatmate gave evidence regarding the phone she had lent to Meredith.  She also detailed when she had moved into the flat at 7 Via della Pergola and the living arrangements.  She told of her plans for the 2nd November and how a worrying phone call from Amanda Knox led to her calling her back and returning to her home earlier than planned.  A key point of Ms. Romanelli’s evidence was her disagreement with Amanda Knox over when Meredith locked her door - Ms. Romanelli stated that Meredith had only once locked her door and that was when she had returned to England for a few days.
  • Paola Grande, Marco Zaroli and Luca Altieri - the other young people who were at the property when Meredith’s body was discovered.  Mr. Altieri broke down the door to Meredith’s room.
  • Laura Mezzetti - the fourth flatmate in the upstairs flat at number 7 Via della Pergola.  She testified with regards to the living arrangements and also that Amanda Knox is an early riser, a “morning person”.
  • Robyn Butterworth, Amy Frost, Sophie Purton and Nathalie Hayward - Meredith’s friends from England.  They testified as to when they last saw Meredith and described the behaviour of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito at the Police Station in the evening of 2nd November 2007.  They also testified that Meredith had no plans after returning home at around 21.00 hrs on 1st November other than to study and have a rest as they had been out late the previous night and believed that they had classes the next day.  Meredith’s friends did not know of Rudy Guede and had not heard Meredith mention his name.
  • Giacomo Silenzi, one of the young men living in the flat underneath Meredith’s flat.  He was Meredith’s boyfriend.
  • Stafano Bonassi, Marco Marzan and Riccardo Luciani the other tenants of the downstairs flat.  Along with Mr. Silenzi they testified as to the the interactions between themselves and the girls upstairs, the gatherings they held, the fact that Rudy Guede was known to Amanda Knox.  They testified as to Rudy Guede’s actions at their house.  They gave evidence of having met or known of Raffaele Sollecito and his relationship with Amanda Knox.
  • Giorgio Cocciaretto a friend of the young men in the downstairs flat testified with regards to knowing Rudy Guede through playing basketball and having seen him at the 7 Via della Pergola house when both Meredith and Amanda Knox were present.
  • Rudy Guede availed himself of his right not to participate in the trial of Amanda Knox and Rafaelle Sollecito.  Judge Massei details Rudy Guede’s involvement based upon the evidence available in order to complete the reconstruction of events of 2nd November as he was charged alongside Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.
  • Marta Fernandez Nieto and Caroline Espinilla Martin - two young ladies living in the flat above Rudy Guede, they testified than on the night of 31st October they had been in the presence of Rudy Guede and that the only girl they saw him dance with was a “blonde girl with long smooth hair”.
  • Gioia Brocci from the Questura of Perugia who testified with regards to a trail of shoe prints leading from Meredith’s room to the exit of the flat getting fainter as they went.  Ms. Brocci also testified as to the lack of signs of climbing on the wall below Filomena Romanelli’s window.  She also collected evidence from the bathroom next to Meredith’s room.
  • Sergeant Francesco Pasquale testified as to the possibility of breaking into the flat though the window in Filomena Romanelli’s room.  Sergeant Pasquale was a consultant for the defence.
  • Maria Antonietta Salvadori Del Prato Titone, Paolo Brocchi, Matteo Palazzoli and Cristian Tramontano testified with regards to previous incidents involving or possibly involving Rudy Guede.
  • Edda Mellas , Amanda Knox’s mother.  She testified as to communications with her daughter on the 2nd November amongst other things.
  • Antonella Negri a teacher at the University who taught Amanda Knox and who testified as to her diligence as a student.
  • Francesco Sollecito, father of Raffaele Sollecito.  He testified as to his son’s character and about his communications with his son.  He also spoke of his son’s relationship with Amanda Knox.
  • Antonio Galizia, Carabinieri station commander in Giovinazzo, the Sollecito family’s home town.  He testified that in September 2003 Raffaele Sollecito was found in possession of hashish.
  • Jovana Popovic testified as to the presence of Amanda Knox at Raffaele Sollecito’s home at two points in time on the evening of 1st November 2007.
  • Diya “Patrick” Lumumba was Amanda Knox’s employer at “Chic”.  He testified that he has sent her a text message excusing her from work on the evening of 1st November.
  • Rita Ficcara Chief Inspector of the State Police - to whom Amanda Knox delivered a written statement composed whilst she was awaiting to be transferred to Capanne Prison.
  • Antonio Curatolo - Mr. Curatolo testified as to having seen Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito at the basketball court in front of the University (the Piazza Grimana) in the evening of 1st November 2007.
  • Maurizio Rosignoli - who runs a kiosk in the Piazza - testified with regards to the timing of buses at the Piazza Grimana thus corroborating times in Mr. Curatolo’s evidence.
  • Alessia Ceccarelli - who worked managing Mr. Rosignoli’s kiosk - gave evidence as to Mr. Curatolo’s presence in the Piazza.
  • Marco Quintavalle, who runs the shop “Margherita Conad”, testified he had seen Amanda Knox at 07.45 hrs on 2nd November, she was waiting for him to open his shop, she went to the section of the store that had items such as groceries, toilet paper and cleaning products but he did not serve her at the till so could not specify what she bought if anything.  He testified that he knew Raffaele Sollecito as he was a regular customer.
  • Officer Daniele Ceppitelli gave evidence with regards to the 112 calls made by Raffaele Sollecito at 12.51 and 12.54 hrs on 2nd November.  In these calls Raffaele Sollecito declared that nothing had been stolen from the flat.
  • Nara Capezzali, Antonella Monacchia and Maria Ilaria Dramis gave evidence of unusual sounds and activity coming from the area around 7 Via della Pergola - namely a scream and the sound of running footsteps.



[one of Sollecito’s three lawyers with Sollecito]

Expert Witnesses

  • Dr. Lalli, the Coroner, he performed the post mortem and ascertained the cause of death and a “time window” when death was likely to have occurred.  He put the time of death between 20.00 hrs on 1st November 2007 and 04.00 hrs the following day.
  • Dr. Domenico Giacinto Profazio was head of the Perugia Flying Squad at the time of Meredith’s death.  He gave evidence regarding the investigative procedures and safeguards including the physical security of the property.
  • Dr. Marco Chiacchiera, deputy director of the Perugia Flying Squad also gave evidence regarding the scene and investigation.
  • Monica Napoleoni, Deputy Commissioner of the State Police gave evidence regarding the scene and investigation.  She also testified as to Raffaele Sollecito’s desire to remain with Amanda Knox.
  • Mauri Bigini a chief inspect at the Flying Squad confirmed the evidence given by Profazio and Napoleoni.
  • Armando Finzi a chief inspector at the Flying Squad gave evidence regarding the examination of Raffaele Sollecito’s flat and the collection of the knife which is now termed “the Double DNA Knife” (Exhibit 36).
  • Stefano Gubbiotti and Zugarini Lorena confirmed the evidence regarding the search of Raffaele Sollecito’s flat.
  • Dr. Giunta from the Scientific Police in Rome directed the detection of latent prints at the scene.
  • Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni from the Scientific Police in Rome collected biological trace evidence for analysis.  She also performed the analysis of DNA evidence and testified extensively on all aspects of DNA - from the background science, through the collection and the testing methods employed to the analysis.
  • Professor Mauro Marchionni, Dr. Vincenza Liviero and Professor Mauro Bacci, the three consultants appointed by the Public Ministers to analyse the forensic medical evidence testified as to various aspects of Dr. Lalli’s report including the cause of death, timing of death, the sexual assault and the wounds.  They reported on the degree of compatibility of the knife - Double DNA Knife, Exhibit 36 - with the wounds suffered.
  • Professor Gianaristide Norelli, the consultant for the civil party, is a forensic police doctor. He testified with regards to the time and cause of death and the sexual assault against Meredith.  He testified as to the degree of compatibility of the Double DNA Knife with the wounds suffered.
  • Professor Francesco Introna, a consultant appointed by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence testified with regards to the forensic medical evidence (cause and time of death, the sexual assault). His opinion is that the murder was committed by one person and that the Double DNA Knife was not the weapon used to inflict the large wound on the left of Meredith’s neck.  He hypothesised that Meredith was already undressing at the end of the day when she was surprised by her sole attacker who attacked from behind.
  • Professor Carlo Torre, a consultant appointed by Amanda Knox’s defence testified with regards to the same areas as described above.  In his opinion the Double DNA knife was not the knife used to inflict the large wound on the left of Meredith’s neck.  He believed a stabbing from the front was the most likely dynamic, and he saw nothing that would lead him to believe there was more than one attacker.
  • Professor Vinci, a consultant appointed by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence, he testified with regards to the stains on the bed sheet -which appeared to be made in blood, outlining a knife.  Professor Vinci also testified with regards to footprints found in the flat.
  • Dr Patumi, a consultant appointed by the defence of Amanda Knox, testified with regards to the neck wounds suffered and also with regards to the genetic evidence as detailed by Dr. Stefanoni.
  • Professor Anna Aprile, Professor Mario Cingolani and Professor Giancarlo Umani Ronchi, all independent consultants appointed by the judge (GIP) at the preliminary hearing. Professor Aprile testified specifically on the question of the sexual assault, Professors Cingolani and Umani Ronchi again considered the evidence with regards to the cause and time of death and the compatibility of the Double DNA Knife with the large wound on the left of Meredith’s neck.
  • Dr. Torricelli, the consultant for Meredith Kercher’s family, testified and gave her opinion on the genetic evidence as detailed by Dr. Stefanoni.
  • Dr. Sarah Gino, a consultant appointed by the defence of Amanda Knox, testified and gave her opinion on the genetic evidence as detailed by Dr. Stefanoni.
  • Professor Tagliabracci, a consultant appointed by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence, testified and gave his opinion on the genetic evidence as detailed by Dr. Stefanoni.  He also gave evidence with regards to the effects of certain drugs.
  • Marco Trotta, Claudio Trifici and Gregori Mirco officers of the Postal Police, gave evidence with regards to the seized computer equipment and also with regards to internet activity at the home of Raffaele Sollecito.
  • Mr. Fabio Formenti, the technical consultant appointed by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence - observed the Postal Police’s analysis of the computer equipment.
  • Dr Michele Gigli and Dr. Antonio D’Ambrosio, consultants appointed by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence, testified with regards to the computer and internet evidence.
  • Chief Inspector Letterio Latella gave evidence with regards to mobile phones and how they pick up signals from base stations which cover certain areas, he also testified with regards to the call records of the mobile phones of the defendants, victim and others.  He detailed how a connection to the network was picked up by the base stations and how the location of the phone can be approximated through knowing which base station was used.  He was able to tell the court which connections to Meredith’s two phones were made from her own flat and which from Mrs. Lana’s garden.
  • Assistant Stefano Sisani provided evidence with regards to both landline telephone services and mobile phone services.
  • Bruno Pellero an engineer appointed by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence to give evidence with regards to telephonic communications.
  • Dr. Lorenzo Rinaldi, Principal Technical Director of the State Police, director of the three sections which compose the Identity Division of the ERT, gave evidence regarding shoe prints and footprints (including those highlighted by the use of luminol.
  • Chief Inspector Pietro Boemia, who worked alongside Dr. Rinaldi.
  • Chief Inspector Claudio Ippolito a consultant who reported on shoe prints - appointed by the public minister.



[Background: the Judges and jury (lay judges) for the trial]>


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Explaining The Massei Report: Its Reasons For Existence And Its Significance In The Appeals

Posted by Storm Roberts

Inroduction

What is the “Massei Report”?  Put simply, the Massei Report is a document produced by the two professional judges, Dr. Beatrice Cristiani and Dr. Giancarlo Massei, who presided over the trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito at the Court of Assize in Perugia from 16th January to 5th December 2009, which explains the judgement and sentencing.

In reality this document is far more than that.  It examines the evidence laid before the court; it discusses both the prosecution and defence cases in great detail - referring back to both the documented evidence produced to the court and to witness testimony; it explains who the witnesses are, it evaluates their reliability and precisely what their evidence tells the court; it gives a detailed analysis of how the court came to it’s verdict.  This document is a careful and considered analysis of the entire trial, from opening procedural arguments through to the final sentencing.

The most important aspect of this report is that, despite the need to be cool, dispassionate, focussed on evidence and cold, hard fact, at no point do the authors loose sight of the fact that this report is about a human being: Meredith Kercher. 

The Massei Report comes at the end of the initial trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for the murder of Meredith Kercher (and other charges - see below).  It is not however the end of the judicial process.  The Italian system gives two appeals to those convicted at their first trial.

The first appeal can be an appeal from the defence, the prosecution, or both, and is a review of the merit of the decision of the first trial and is heard by different judges and lay judges - it is not a full review of the evidence, it is a review of the merit of the decision of the first trial and is heard by different judges and lay judges.

The second and final appeal is to the Italian Supreme Court and is on matters of errors in procedure or in the application of the law, it is not a review of the evidence.  The appeals process is described by Commissario Montalbano here on TJMK (link to post of 17th August 2010)

The Massei Report is the basis of the appeal, to be heard later this year, by both the prosecution and the defence teams of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.  Both defence teams have submitted their appeals and they will be heard in due course.  I note, for the sake of clarity, that, it is the job of the defence teams to question the Massei Report - simply because the defence teams have questioned the report does not, at this stage, mean that the Massei Report is incorrect.  As of today, prior to the appeal court’s judgement, the Massei Report is the definitive discussion of the case against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito and the judgement passed against them.

For those who wish to have a detailed knowledge of evidence presented in the case against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito there is no substitute for reading the Massei Report in it’s entirety - it is available, thanks to the work of a dedicated team of volunteers, both here on TJMK and on the PMF forum, in English (Please see the link in the menu on the left of your screen).  Here I am going to highlight some areas considered in the report, my hope being that, in highlighting certain evidence, it will be possible to address the areas most often called into question by those who do not have full information on this sad case.  This is not a full review of the Massei Report.

Even for those who have followed this case the Massei Report has some surprises.  For example, I knew that both the prosecution and defence teams had appointed experts in forensic medicine and science, but I had not realised that, at an earlier hearing the Perugian court had appointed it’s own forensic experts, thus there were three sets of experts heard at the trial - the prosecution’s, the defences’, and independent court appointed experts.

N.B.  In the following review the references to page numbers relate to the above mentioned translation of the Massei Report - specifically the first published version - v1.0 - dated 8th August 2010.

The charges.  [Pages 10-13]

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were charged, alongside Rudy Guede, with the murder of Meredith Kercher at the flat Amanda Knox shared with Meredith and two Italian girls at number 7 Via della Pergola, the murder was committed for trivial reasons whilst Rudy Guede, in concourse with Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, committed the felony of sexual assault. 

Additionally Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were charged with carrying a knife without justified reason - this is what is known as the “double DNA knife” to which we will return later, with sexual assault (in complicity with Rudy Guede who is held to be the material executor), with theft of approximately €300, two credit cards and two mobile phones from Meredith Kercher, and finally with the staging of the scene to make it appear as if the flat had been broken into. 

In addition Amanda Knox was charged with the crime of calunnia - as explained below there is no direct equivalent in English or American Law - this is the crime of falsely implicating Diya “Patrick” Lumumba in the murder of Meredith Kercher.

Explanation of calunnia

The charge of calunnia (art. 368) has been commonly translated as “slander” in the English/US media. This translation is incorrect, however, as calunnia is a crime with no direct equivalent in the respective legal systems.

The equivalent of “criminal slander” is diffamazione, which is an attack on someone”Ÿs reputation. Calunnia is the crime of making false criminal accusations against someone whom the accuser knows to be innocent, or to simulate/fabricate false evidence, independently of the credibility/admissibility of the accusation or evidence.

The charges of calunnia and diffamazione are subject to very different jurisprudence. Diffamazione is public and explicit, and is a more minor offence, usually resulting in a fine and only prosecuted if the victim files a complaint, while calunnia can be secret or known only to the authorities. It may consist only of the simulation of clues, and is automatically prosecuted by the judiciary.

The crimes of calunnia and diffamazione are located in different sections of the criminal code: while diffamazione is in the chapter entitled “crimes against honour” in the section of the Code protecting personal liberties, calunnia is discussed in the chapter entitled “crimes against the administration of justice”, in a section that protects public powers.

Some Details from the Report:

The Massei Report deals with the various declarations made by Amanda Knox; her statements to the police, her email to friends and family, and also her testimony to the court on 12th and 13th June 2009.  Knox’s memorandum to the police does form part of the body of evidence - it was not “thrown out”.  The memorandum she wrote on 6th November 2007 was admitted into evidence during the opening arguments and as such this is detailed in the first part of the Massei Report.  Additionally it is worth noting that Knox’s police interviews when she was being interviewed as a witness have not been “thrown out” - as per Italian Law, statements when made as a witness (i.e. prior to becoming a suspect) are only admitted as evidence against others.  When interrogated as a suspect Knox had both a lawyer and an interpreter - the interpreter, Dr Anna Donninio, actually testified at the trial.

Many claims have been made by Knox’s supporters that can be directly countered by the evidence in the Massei Report.  Let us consider just a few of these claims:

1) Amanda Knox did not know Rudy Guede.

This is clearly untrue as Knox herself, when questioned during her trial, admitted to knowing Rudy Guede and to having met him on several occasions during the month of October 2007.  They were not “best friends” but they knew each other to speak to and they had socialised in the same group (a group which included Knox’s flatmates and the boys from the flat beneath her’s). [Page 67]

2) Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox have maintained the same story throughout.

Clearly this is not the case.  Just two examples highlighted in the Massei report are as follows:

a) Knox’s reactions at the scene, namely her indifference to the problem of Meredith’s locked door, run counter to her email sent to friends and family in the USA where she indicates the locked door caused her to panic [Pages 31, 32 and 91 - 95]; and,

b) During Knox’s testimony on the stand she changed details of her story from the first day to the second day.  On 1st November Sollecito and Knox ate dinner at Sollecito’s flat and, whilst washing up, a pipe under the kitchen sink leaked and caused water to pool on the kitchen floor.  Dr. Sollecito (Raffaele’s father) telephoned his son at 20.42 hrs - during this conversation Raffaele told his father about this leaking pipe, thus fixing the time of the meal at before 20.42 hrs .  On 12th June 2009 Knox timed this meal at 21.30 - 22.00 hrs, on 13th June she changed her testimony moving the timing of the meal even later, to around 23.00 hrs. [Page 78]

3) There is no evidence against Amanda Knox or Raffaele Sollecito.

Having heard all the evidence and arguments from both the prosecution and defence teams the court reached the following conclusions (NB.  These are the ‘headline’ points of the evidence, for the entire bank of evidence (including the DNA trace evidence) please read The Massei Report itself) - Page numbers refer to the detailed evidence and arguments.

a) The Double-DNA Knife (Exhibit 36) [Page 264 also Page 287]

The knife had Meredith’s DNA near to the tip of the blade; Amanda Knox’s DNA was on the handle.  This knife, the court concluded, was compatible with the large wound on the left side of Meredith’s neck.

b) The Bra-clasp (Exhibit 165) [Page 266 also Page 294]

Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA was on the bra-clasp.  The bra-clasp was not contaminated.

c) Computer evidence (including internet usage) [Page 299].

The last interaction with Raffaele Sollecito’s computer on 1st November 2007 was at 21.10 hrs and 32 seconds.  There was no further interaction with the computer nor with the internet line at Sollecito’s flat until the computer was used to play some audio files at 05.32 hrs in the morning of 2nd November 2007.  Thus the computer usage and internet connection do not support the notion of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito remaining in Sollecito’s flat all night.

d) Telephone evidence (both land line and mobile) [Page 311].

Raffaele Sollecito’s father telephoned him at 20.42 hrs on the 1st November and this gives a time for the washing up after dinner as Raffaele told his father about the leaking pipe in this call.  His father sent him a text message at 23.14 hrs 1st November which was not picked up by the phone until 06.02 on the 2nd November - the court concluded that this was due to the phone being switched off between 20.42 hrs 56 seconds on 1st November and 06.02 hrs 59 seconds on 2nd November. 

On 2nd November the following activity on Raffaele Sollecito’s phone is noted:

12.50 hrs a call to Raffaele’s sister from the area of Via della Pergola 7, followed by two calls to 112 (the Europe-wide emergency number) the first at 12.51 hrs and 12.54 hrs.  (Note: The two Postal Police officers noted their arrival at Via della Pergola 7 at approximately 12.30 hrs.)

On 1st November Amanda Knox claimed to have turned her phone off after having replied to Diya Lumumba’s text message at 20.35 hrs 48 seconds.  There was no further activity on her phone until 12.07 hrs 12 seconds on 2nd November.

This call was the first to Meredith’s English phone - it was of 16 seconds duration and connected through a cell covering Sollecito’s flat.  The court held the opinion that this call was to check that the phone, and the second phone that was disposed alongside it, had not been discovered.

There was then a flurry of activity:

12.08 hrs - Amanda called Filomena Romanelli again from Sollecito’s flat.
12.11 hrs 02 seconds - Amanda called Meredith’s Italian phone.  This call lasted 3 seconds and again was made from Sollecito’s flat.
12.11hrs 54 seconds - Amanda called Meredith’s English phone for a second time.  This call lasted 4 seconds and was made from Sollecito’s flat.
At 12.12 hrs. 12.20 hrs, 12.34hrs Filomena Romanelli called Amanda, the first two calls connected through the cell covering Sollecito’s flat the third a cell covering the flat at 7 Via della Pergola.

At 12.47 Amanda Knox telephoned her mother in America.  This is the call during which her mother, Edda Mellas, testified that she told her daughter to call the police.  Mrs. Mellas detailed this call in her testimony; her daughter testified that she did not remember making this call.  (Again, note the two Postal Police officers noted their arrival at the flat at approximately 12.30 hrs.)

A further call to her mother was made at 13.24 hrs - this call, Mrs. Mellas testified was when her daughter told her that a foot had been seen in the room, Mrs. Mellas said that there was yelling and that her daughter was upset.  In her testimony, Amanda Knox claimed this was the first call to her mother that she could remember.

e) Prints - shoe prints and footprints [Page 332].

The footprint on the blue bath mat in the bathroom shared by Meredith and Amanda is attributed to Raffaele Sollecito, and barefoot prints two compatible with Amanda Knox and one compatible with Raffaele Sollecito were highlighted using luminol.

4) Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were not under the influence of drugs on the night of 1st November 2007.

The Massei Report clearly states that both then defendants were “accustomed to the consumption of drugs and the effects” and Amanda Knox stated that she and Sollecito had consumed drugs on that evening. [Page 367]

In Conclusion

Above I have considered just a few areas of the Massei Report,  for those new to TJMK I hope that this has given an insight into the incredible detail provided by the judges and I hope it will have encouraged you to read the Report for yourselves in order that you may fully understand this sad case.

Shortly I will be looking at sections of the report dealing with the medical forensics.

 

Posted by Storm Roberts on 09/18/10 at 07:25 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Trials 2008 & 2009The Massei ReportComments here (0)

Monday, August 09, 2010

The Judges’ Sentencing Report For The Guilty Verdicts In The Case Of Meredith Kercher

Posted by Our Main Posters

This is the report of Judge Massei and his colleagues, now translated into English.

This was a joint effort of PMF and TJMK and all who worked so hard on the report are active on Perugia Murder File and are or will be posters here on True Justice For Meredith Kercher.

The five months of work by all of us, on three continents, was done in memory of Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher, who was known to her friends as Mez.

Rest peacefully, Mez. We’d have been so honored to have been your friends.


Page 2 of 3 pages  < 1 2 3 >